The 1930s movie Treasure Island was on TCM this weekend. I’ve seen it a hundred times before and own a copy so I don’t have to watch it just because it’s on tv. So, of course, I watched it.
Usually I just enjoy the story as a whole without dissecting it. The characters and the plot devices I find enormously enjoyable. But one scene got me thinking about our present situation.
The scene is at the point when Captain Smollett has escaped the ship Hispaniola with the remaining loyal crew on a long boat to Treasure Island and has reached the blockhouse inside the stockade. They are badly outnumbered, hopelessly outgunned by the ship’s cannons and almost out of food.
Captain Smollett is raising the English flag on a makeshift flagpole over the blockhouse. He looks up at the flag and gives it a formal salute. Just then a cannon ball overshoots the blockhouse and knocks down a palm tree.
Captain Smollett – Shoot away me lads, that’s the way to waste powder.
Dr. Livesey – The flag evidently spots the house for them. Hadn’t we better lower it?
Captain Smollett – Lower the flag? Strike my colors? Not I, sir! We’ve little provisions but plenty of powder and ball. And by heaven sir, this spot is England!
As the scene ends, we see the English flag flying in the sky. The scene shifts then to the ship Hispaniola where the pirates are lofting the Jolly Roger (pirate skull and cross bones flag) on the main mast.
Other than the relevance to Smollett’s personality as a veteran English naval officer I never thought about what that line “this spot is England!” could mean to me.
Maybe it was the whole Nike/Kaepernick/Betsy Ross Flag insult. The idea that Leftists are making a point of methodically attacking all the traditional and familiar symbols and characters from the past and trying to eliminate them from the public square. Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, even a popular entertainer like Kate Smith was attacked and the cowardly sports franchises like the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Yankees caved into ginned up outrage from social justice warriors who don’t even like sports and banned her version of “God Bless America.”
What this tells me is that we need somewhere or some thing where we can say “this spot is America.” We need somewhere that we can go with our children and grandchildren and talk to them about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and even Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson and say this is the history of your country. We need books and movies and art that talk about who we are and how we got here. And it needs to be written by people who actually love this country not by those who hate it or at best are ashamed of it.
Now, by all rights, the whole territory of the United States should be that place. But just like in Treasure Island the pirates have occupied much of what should be America. Whole areas of the country like the Northeast and the West Coast are firmly under the control of people who hate America with a passion. In those areas there is no public place or even private venue where it’s safe to be an American. In fact, in some places like California and Oregon the local government will allow antifa thugs to assault anyone who espouses a patriotic sentiment publicly.
For that reason, on-line venues can be very useful to satisfy the desire to socialize with other Americans on home ground. That is why I have this website. That is why I say the things I do. That is why I read the various sites and news sources. It gives us a public square where we can talk and share information and try to reach a consensus.
But it’s not enough. Not by a long shot. We need to get our government to stop helping the enemy. President Trump is helping in several ways but we’re not even close to turning things around. The recent decision about the citizenship question on the census form shows that we’re still battling against the fake conservatives on the Supreme Court. President Trump gave us two votes for our side but with Roberts’ awful decision it’s plain to see that the Bushes’ endless shadow of bad decisions is still coming back to haunt us.
We need the Federal, State and local governments to be forced to respect the First and Second Amendments and stop persecuting Americans who exercise these rights.
And we have to recognize that many public and private institutions (schools, social organizations, social media, financial institutions and corporations) are hopelessly biased against conservatives and hostile to the normal America that we knew. As has been said a million times before we will need to build and support replacement institutions that won’t make us feel like strangers in our own land.
So just as Captain Smollett said in his stockade “this spot is England!” here at Orion’s Cold Fire I can say to you my friends “this spot is America!” Celebrate the good things that we grew up with and share the stories and experiences that reflect its worth without worrying about getting someone’s pronouns wrong or triggering someone by describing some old Indian fighter as brave. And spread any good news or information that will help us to sustain the old ways that we value and share the fun things that make life interesting. I write about science fiction and photography but music, art, other literature, science and more are all things that interest me and I welcome anyone that wants to post articles in the comments that others might find interesting. And I will link to anything that seems worthwhile and interesting. And review any books, movies or art that belongs in our America.
Strike my colors? Not I, sir!
After you’ve read enough sexbot articles on Drudge maybe switch to something interesting
Just a quick update. I’m, of course, going to a family barbecue today. But I’m off for a couple of weeks and will use the time to test out some lenses I’ve rented the following lenses:
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS and the Sony 1.4 and 2.0 teleconverters and the
Mitakon SpeedMaster 50mm f/0.95 Lens for Sony E.
I hope to have some interesting conclusions about these two products. I’ve been looking for a telephoto and think the 100-400 might be a more useful lens that the 200-600 that is coming out next month. And the 50mm 0.95 is probably not something I need but it might be fun to have such an extremely thin plane of focus in certain shots.
Shatner-Khan was postponed due to illness but I have plans to publish important original research on the subject in the weeks ahead.
And I plan to eat my share of hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob (hand shucked!) and watermelon in the days to come. To all of you enjoy our Independence Day and make sure that your children and grandchildren know the truth and don’t let them be misled by the Colin Kaepernicks and Nikes of the world. We had to separate ourselves from tyranny once before and we can do it again. In fact just by how we think of these people, we already have.
Here’s a little reminder.
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness of his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams, John Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: George Read, Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
07JUN2019 – American Greatness Post of the Day – Angelo Codevilla’s “The Way Out of Our Judicial Impasse is Through It
Codevilla is making a bold statement. He is basically saying Americans are going to have to defy Leftist judges.
Listen to what Codevilla says:
Defying the reach of a federal court ruling—even one of the Supreme Court’s, never mind that of a district court—is within everyone’s power. Alexander Hamilton had made that point in Federalist 78: the judiciary’s fundamental power is neither more nor less than the power to persuade. You may be otherwise persuaded. Hamilton is clear that there is no constitutional duty to obey the courts—certainly not on policy.
Andrew Jackson applied that principle even to the Supreme Court’s decision in the specific case of the Bank of the United States in 1832: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” There is no constitutional reason why any president, or governor, should forbear from carrying out a law or an executive decision just because a federal district judge’s opinion is that it violates some standard, The president or governor has his own opinion. In the final analysis, all depends on executive power, which, in turn, depends on popular support.
This is getting very close to revolt. Looks like we are starting to see the mainstream Right testing the waters of the river that the Dissident Right crossed over through a few years ago. With what is going on with abortion law in Alabama and elsewhere how long before a Leftist judge says “Thou shalt not.” and some Governor says “In a pig’s eye!” Without a doubt we live in interesting times.
Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.
In the Coen Brothers’ version of “True Grit,” there are several conversations between Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger LeBoeuf where Rooster made it clear he considered LeBeouf a blowhard. After the incident where LeBoeuf is dragged feet first behind a horse and shot through his shoulder he is recovering in the cabin they have occupied.
(Inside the Cabin)
As Mattie enters. We see LeBoeuf musing before the fire as he cleans his Sharp’s carbine —an awkward operation given the injury to his shoulder, now bandaged. All we see of Rooster, seated further from the fire, is a pair of boots, and legs stretching into darkness. Mattie goes to the pot of food on the fire.
“Azh I understand it, Chaney——or Chelmzhford, azh he called himshelf in Texas——shot the shenator’zh dog. When the shenator remonshtrated Chelmzhford shot him azh well. You
could argue that the shooting of the dog wazh merely an inshtansh of malum prohibitum, but the shooting of a shenator izh indubitably an inshtansh of malum in shay.”
Rooster is a voice in the darkness:
“Malum in se. The distinction is between an act that is wrong in itself, and an act that is wrong only according to our laws and mores. It is Latin.”
We hear the pthoonk of a bottle yielding its cork, followed by the pthwa of the cork’s being spit out.
“I am struck that LeBoeuf is shot, trampled, and nearly severs his tongue and not only does not cease to talk but spills the banks of English.”
We hear liquid slosh as the bottle is tipped back.
Re-posted from October 2017
Nowadays urban fantasy has gotten all highfalutin with a bunch of flavors of wolf creatures. There are werewolves and lycanthropes and loup garous and lycans and blutbaden and all other sub-categories of wolf metamorphosing humans. Back in the day there were just werewolves. And the most famous case was Larry Talbot.
Larry was a British ex-pat living in America. He left home after a disagreement with his father. His father was a titled Lord living on the family estate. But when Larry’s older brother died it was time for the prodigal son to return and take up his family responsibility as the heir apparent. As luck would have it, Larry’s arrival home coincided with the arrival of a troop of gypsies outside of the local village. And it was at the gypsy camp that Larry would begin his personal exploration of nocturnal non-domestic canine/human feeding habits. Larry is attacked by a werewolf who during the day is Bela the gypsy fortune teller (interestingly played by Bela Lugosi). Bela wounds Larry but is himself killed by Larry using a silver headed walking stick. The head of the stick is, of course, shaped like a wolf’s head. Larry is carried back to his home where he survives his wound which heals in the shape of a pentagram (the sign of the werewolf!). The killing of Bela becomes part of a police investigation and Larry is suspected but being a nobleman, he is not pestered by arrest or even having to appear before a magistrate. The police inspector is forced to come visit him at the manor and all deference to his status maintained. Meanwhile Larry is starting to feel funny and the next night he turns into a werewolf and goes on a killing spree. After this he is desperate to believe that he is only suffering from nightmares and delusions but the evidence starts mounting up against him. At one point during one of his nocturnal hunts, he is caught in a leg trap. And here he is saved by Bela’s mother. The old gypsy lady feels responsible for Larry’s plight and recites a spell over him that turns him back into a man and allows him to escape the trap. Finally, Larry reaches the end point of his despair when he knows that his next victim is the woman he loves. Luckily (sort of) his father manages to kill Larry with the same silver wolf headed walking stick that Larry used earlier for the same purpose. So, the story ends on this somber scene of father looking down at the son he has just killed. The gypsy woman recites her spell again and we’re supposed to realize that this was the merciful release and the best-case ending for poor Larry Talbot.
In terms of range of acting ability and style the Wolfman is probably the most varied of the Universal Classic Monster Movies. On the one hand we have Claude Rains playing Lord Talbot, Larry’s father. Rains is an excellent actor and also a very polished individual who easily can play a nobleman in a movie. He was also rather short and slight of build. Then there’s Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry. Chaney was an indifferent actor and a very large and tall man with a booming rough voice. He was more at home in a broad comedy such as the pictures he did at Universal with the comic duo Abbot and Costello. In fact, he reprised his role as the Wolfman in the monster spoof, “Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” It might be assumed that he would be out of his depth trying to portray a nobleman’s son but he plays the part as a self-made man who grew up in America and reflects the manners and outlook of his adoptive land. He employs a working-class diction and style of speech and comes off as a personable individual with maybe a slightly hot temper. The relation between father and son seems to be cordial, warm and in the spirit of a mutual rapprochement after a youthful revolt against parental authority. Before the disaster occurs to Larry, the atmosphere is of a joyful family reunion. So, these two actors almost exact opposites in appearance, acting style and talent level manage to do a convincing job of portraying themselves as family.
The other important portrayal is the old gypsy woman played by Maria Ouspenskaya. Since her son Bela was a werewolf she understands Larry’s plight and realizes what his fate will be. And being a gypsy of course she has witch-like powers (and a really cool accent). When Larry needs to escape from his wolf form she could recite the following spell to revert him to human form.
“The way you walked was thorny, though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”
She is the coolest aspect of the movie and provides the atmosphere (along with the fog machine that must have been working overtime for this film) that allows you to think 20th Century England could be infested with werewolves and gypsies.
And finally, the other notable aspect of the movie is the tradition spawned of werewolves transforming during the full moon. Or did it? Actually, in this first Larry Talbot outing the full moon isn’t explicitly mentioned:
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfs bane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.
Later they change the final line to “and the moon is full and bright.” So here we can see that autumn and wolfs bane is part of the equation. Maybe this restricts it to the Hunter’s or Harvest Moon.
So, do I like the Wolfman? Only parts. I like the beginning and I like the end. But the middle where Larry is fretting over whether he is going crazy isn’t all that good. So, I recommend seeing it at least once but it’s not my favorite for sure.